Hurricane Kay track
National Hurricane Center chart shows the forecast track of Hurricane Kay.

The first hurricane to reach the coast of Southern California in a quarter century is expected to bring wind, rain and an end to the heat wave in the San Diego area.

Hurricane Kay is moving north along Baja California coast and is expected to reach the Ensenada area on Friday, when it will turn to the west and lose strength.

This will be the closest pass to Southern California for a large storm since Hurricane Nora in 1997.

“A few thunderstorms will occur through Friday morning as the northern outer bands of Hurricane Kay move through the region. There will be some cooling today due to the cloud cover, but with temperatures still well above normal, with a very warm humid night expected tonight,” the National Weather Service office in San Diego said in its Thursday afternoon forecast.

“The heavier rain will arrive Friday and continue through Saturday, with the potential of flash flooding mainly in the foothills, mountains and deserts,” the agency added.

Yet the heat wave is not over yet and the California Independent System Operator issued an Energy Emergency Alert 2 from 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday.

The alert means the state’s power grid manager is requesting emergency supplies from all resources to meet what is expected to be heightened demand. Cal-ISO is calling on people to step up their conservation efforts further to avoid the possibility of rolling blackouts.

When the weather turns, a flood watch will be in effect for the western valleys, mountains and deserts in San Diego County from Friday morning though Saturday evening. Rainfall of 2 to 4 inches along the eastern mountain slopes is possible, and coastal areas could get half an inch.

Meteorologists said gusts could hit 50 mph as the storm passes through the region.

Temperatures are expected to fall first in the mountains and deserts, with highs on Friday forecast to be in the mid 90s along the coast and in the western valleys, upper 80s near the foothills, upper 70s in the mountains and lower 90s in the deserts.

At the beaches, surf of 3 to 6 feet as well as strong rip and longshore currents are expected. Some sets could reach 7 feet.

Offshore Kay is expected to bring strong easterly gales and chaotic, hazardous seas on Friday. The strongest winds and highest seas will be Friday afternoon through early Saturday.

Peak gusts of 35 to 45 knots are expected along with seas of 8 to 12 feet.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Updated 5:25 p.m. Sept. 8, 2022

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.